THE Oasis Family Life Education Centre has developed a programme, with empahsis on the qualities of Christian character and beliefs, to prepare pre-marital couples in countering the challenges in their life journey together.
Besides dealing with the common issues which most marriage preparation courses do, it also highlights the application of the basic qualities of Christian character like having faith in God’s choice, the virtues of being a blessing to one another, the knowledge of God’s will in a spousal relationship, the self-control of weaknesses through managing one’s temperament, perseverance in doing God’s will in encountering difficult times, godly stewardship of gifts and passion, time and talents, brotherly affection among kin and unconditional love for the unlovable.
The number of divorces in Singapore has risen by 27 per cent from 3,813 in 1991 to 4,838 in 2001. More than half were marriages that lasted fewer than 10 years. Worst of all the national census of Singapore in 2000 showed that 14.58 per cent of the divorced or broken families were Christian.
The Lord God said, “I hate divorce,” (Mal.2:16). Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mk.10:9). The Apostle Paul said, “A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.” (1 Cor.7:10-11). The bride and the groom say, separately, “From this day, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”
The church has to teach and enlighten all pre-marital couples to take their marriage seriously in the light of the relationship between Christ and His church.
Husbands should be prepared to cherish their wives as Christ cherishes His church. Wives must be convicted with the mission of raising a new godly generation with the support of their husbands as the church is committed to making disciples with the blessing of Christ.
In other words, the Christian marriage is more of a mission-oriented venture than a romantic adventure. In view of this, the Oasis centre’s Marriage Preparation Programme should be regarded as a prerequisite for couples who wish to be married in the church.
Previous participants of the programme have come from different backgrounds and they have found it helpful.
Those planning to get married are encouraged to register with the centre. The centre is at 63 Wishart Road. Its telephone number is 6274-7480, its fax number is 6276-0024, and its on-line registration address is www.oasisflec.org
The centre will gather all registrants for an orientation as soon as more then three have registered.
According to past experience, the most effective programme is conducted in a group over three consecutive full-days at a hotel or at the centre.
The centre also organises eight week-night sessions, or three consecutive Saturday sessions to suit different participants. Group members are encouraged to meet regularly to render support for each other after attending the programme.
Individual sessions can also be conducted, with some additional charges.
The Rev Dr Francis Ngoi is the Director of Oasis Family Life Education Centre. The centre is an agency of the Chinese Annual Conference of The Methodist Church in Singapore.